Physicians at Work, Patients in Pain
Biomedical Practice and Patient Response in Mexico
by Kaja Finkler
320 pp $35.00
To understand the healing process is to understand the web of interconnections between sickness, recovery, and the therapeutic regimens that people select to alleviate their illnesses. By examining how patients perceive biomedical treatment, we gain a better understanding of how human beings deal with and explain the human dilemma of sickness and recovery. Based on extensive fieldwork in the Internal Medicine outpatient clinic of a public hospital in Mexico City, this book breaks new ground in the study of patient response to biomedical treatment in developing countries.
Finkler organizes the book around three interrelated issues: first, she examines the ways in which a system of knowledge developed in one society becomes translated in another; then she considers the ways in which patients respond to biomedical treatment received in a public hospital in a developing nation; and lastly she asks how patients' varied responses to treatment might be illuminated through specific, culturally derived ideas of sickness and recovery. By addressing the question of patient-perceived therapeutic outcomes, this book underscores various components of biomedicine that differentially influence patients' responses to it. These specific constituent aspects of the medical encounter permit us to postulate universal and culturally shaped aspects of biomedical practice.
This book is part of the Ethnographic Studies in Medical Anthropology Series, edited by Pamela J. Stewart and Andrew Strathern, Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh.